Oculus announced at Connect, the company’s annual developer conference, that they’ll be officially supporting WebVR through their new VR web browser codenamed Carmel. WebVR is an API that provides headsets access to web-based VR content.

Touted as an easy way to share VR experiences over the web, WebVR allows JavaScript developers a way of delivering simple VR content into the hands of anyone with a VR headset just by navigating to a URL (i.e. no long downloads or installs necessary).

Oculus co-founder Nate Mitchell took the stage and presented the new VR browser, stating the WebVR initiative “is going to lead to an exponential growth in VR content out there. Everyone in the future is going to have their own VR destination on the web.”

Google is Adding a VR Shell to Chrome to Let You Browse the Entire Web in VR

Mitchell then introduced a number of usecases for prospective developers, some that he said could even be completed in just a few days like a web-based photo sphere site, or a 3D rendering of a new car.

a simple photo sphere ‘destination’ that lets you tour a hotel

Oculus says Carmel is optimized for performance, designed for navigation and input in VR, and will be tightly integrated with Home and “run on any Oculus device.”

Samsung’s Gear VR web browser ‘Samsung Internet’ already has preliminary support for WebVR, but the move by Oculus to support it directly and offer the tools to do so means they’ll be throwing their full weight behind the initiative.


To help developers build VR web content, Oculus also announced React VR, a VR-focused version of the React open source javascript library created by Facebook in 2013 that helps developers build user interfaces for web-based content.

A developer preview of Carmel is said to come later this year along with React VR. Oculus has listed a number of real-world examples on their WebVR page to give prospective devs an idea of what to build for the coming VR web.

This article may contain affiliate links. If you click an affiliate link and buy a product we may receive a small commission which helps support the publication. See here for more information.

  • Thomas Jefferson

    But…it’s still just avatars in a gamespace…not immersive fully textured virtual reality. Distracting? Certainly. Seductive? Of course. But…it still requires “the suspension of disbelief” as theatrical folk would say. Avatars in a room? How does that differ from playing with Barbie(tm) dolls? Mark Z as Justin T? Wassup wit dat?
    Naah…true VR, even today, is a walk through the bazaars of Marrakech without VR nausea, immersive reality writ large through sight and sound, haptics to follow. Fixed POV, no prob. Avoids nausea. JMO,

  • Supporting webVR they aim at supporting a future version of facebook that exploits webvr… good news, anyway

  • Adrian Meredith

    This exists solely to enforce vendor lock,. I fully expect fbs future content to only work in this browser

    • Get Schwifty!

      Anything Oculus does is now tarred with this limited analysis; would you prefer they wait to see if Microsoft or Google decides they feel like supporting VR? Even if it is partly a “vendor lock” move, it’s helping to push the advent of VR. Leaving it up to those two (and forget FireFox, they cant even get out of their own way lately), VR would languish until it was slowly incorporated if it just happened to catch on and some accountant decided it made sense. You can always use the other browsers for content, nothing is forcing you to use Carmel. If your concern is that Facebook will only be accessibly via Carmel, I seriously doubt that, there revenue stream is tied to everyone and their brother hitting Facebook via any browser, so it would make little sense to push it that way. OTOH, offering a better experience via VR with a browser you can control, that makes perfect sense, and you can be sure this will bring MS and Google to the table to help implement those extensions, etc. into their browsers.

      Personally, I think a lot of the so-called “vendor lock” moves are more about establishing defensive positions while having to fight their way into an entrenched environment, Valve/HTC Vive on the gaming front, and the browser behemoths of Internet Explorer and Google on the other.